Commentary on an extended piece by an outsider.

Do modern historians have something valuable to say about Jesus?

Submitted by frlarry on Mon, 06/22/2015 - 16:14
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A parishioner asked me to review a new product of National Geographic, written by Jean-Pierre Isbouts, who is an historian of the times of Jesus. The work is called "The Story of Christianity - A Chronicle of Christian Civilization from Ancient Rome to Today"

Nineteen Eightyfour: Orwell's dystopian novel and its relationship to today

Submitted by frlarry on Thu, 08/07/2014 - 21:46
When I read George Orwell's dystopian novel, Nineteen Eighty Four, over 40 years ago, I hoped that knowledge of the possible abuses of government would be a sufficient warning to prevent it. I hoped that the dystopia it described would never come to birth. George Orwell was way ahead of his time, yet he had already seen the possibility of the deluded polity that would enable the creation of this system. One of Orwell's more prescient visions was a political culture governed by what he termed "doublespeak." Today, we might recognize this as the language of political correctness.

The Papal honeymoon is definitely over.

Submitted by frlarry on Wed, 07/02/2014 - 17:12

It's understandable that the world's elite news media failed to capture the essence of who Pope Francis is, given their dogged determination to always be ahead of the narrative. One can find a representative sample of the approach taken in the New York Times piece by Rachel Donadio from July of last year, "On Gay Priests, Pope Francis Asks, ‘Who Am I to Judge?’" Who can blame them for failing to understand a personality such as his — compassionate, humble, and yet with firm convictions regarding the difference between truth and falsehood, good and evil, beauty and ugliness, wisdom and folly, material and spiritual, timeless and ephemeral. One must travel far and wide to find such a combination in a world leader these days. Even Catholic journalists found him confusing, although one can come across the occasionally balanced perspective, such as that of Colleen Carroll Campbell in her piece "God and Mammon". And as the English poet, Alexander Pope, noted, "Hope springs eternal in the human breast." It matters not the provenance of that hope.

Repairing the incoherence of the term "Catholic"

Submitted by frlarry on Sun, 02/16/2014 - 16:01

While the author of "Our Secular Future", a piece in America Magazine, has some important things to say about the cultural clash between (what I prefer to call) serious Christians and the increasingly dominant secular progressive elites, the comments that follow the article point to dissent even to his employment of the term "Catholic". Given all the controversy over the meaning of the word "Catholic" and who is allowed, or not allowed, to apply that term to themselves, I propose the following solution:

Faith vs. Reason?

Submitted by frlarry on Fri, 02/07/2014 - 22:07

Debates like that touted in "Bill Nye Debates Ken Ham" have never impressed me. In the first place, I've never enjoyed a debate between amateurs that pretends to be serious. In the second place, I've been exposed to much more challenging debates, for example, that between Bertrand Russell and Jesuit Fr. Frederick C. Copleston. (See "Fr. Copleston vs. Bertrand Russell". The debate between Bertrant Russell and G.K.